Jimmy Moore’s podcast interview with Chris Palmer, MD

Jimmy Moore and Chris Palmer, MD discuss working at the interface of metabolic and mental disorders in order to better understand the overlap of diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease and their connection to mental illness. Perhaps the metabolic-mental connection can help reduce the stigma associated with obesity, mental illness and addiction.

Listen to the podcast on the Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore

Episode 1503: Dr. Chris Palmer Underscores the Value of Ketogenic Nutrition in Mental Health

Podcast show notes

  • 1:58 Welcome, Chris Palmer, MD.
  • 2:55 How Jimmy discovered Chris’s research.
  • 3:53 How Chris chose to become a medical doctor and psychiatrist. Psychiatrists vs. psychologists.
  • 5:55 Chris’s Midwest, Catholic roots as one of 8 kids.
  • 7:04 What got Chris interested in mental illness.

Ketogenic diet and mental illness.

  • 8:00 Stigma – Importance of destigmatizing mental illness. Parallels with destigmatizing obesity 
  • 9:50 Parallels with destigmatizing addiction
  • 11:25 Does mental illness have a nutritional component? The link between sugar, anxiety, and depression. Interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors.
  • 14:30 Relationship between mental illness and diet. Using a ketogenic diet as a metabolic intervention to treat mental illness.
  • 15:00 The ketogenic diet developed as a therapeutic metabolic intervention to treat epilepsy. That was 100 years ago.
  • 16:00 Medications developed to treat epilepsy, are almost all used to treat every psychiatric disorder we have. Psychiatrists and epilepsy doctors use similar and oftentimes identical medications. Interestingly, they use the same drugs to treat different disorders.  
  • 18:45 Research about the connection between insulin resistance and mental disorders. The relationship goes both ways.  People who have diabetes are 2x more likely to develop clinical depression than people who don’t have it.  When they do get depression it lasts 4x longer in diabetics than it does in people who don’t have diabetes. Whether you look at people who have the metabolic disorder diabetes or people who have mental illnesses, both of them feed each other.

Connecting metabolic and mental disorders

  • 27:06 Solution for Stigma. Blaming the victim. “You aren’t trying hard enough.“ Happens for both obesity and mental illness.
  • 31:50 Link between obesity and chronic mental disorders, such as bipolar and schizophrenia. Patients are diagnosed in their teens and twenties.  They start at a normal weight and become obese. Yet they come to have ridiculously high rates of obesity. This is true even when controlling for medications.
  • 33:55 There is a great deal of evidence of a metabolic connection. The question is how to act on the results constructively and humanely?

Insulin coma therapy

  • 35:30 Insulin coma therapy put people in a state of ketosis.  As a treatment it was barbaric, but patients got better.  Are there more humane ways of putting them in ketosis?


  • 38:30 Inflammation correlated with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic mental disorders.
  • 40:00 Are antioxidants the solution to combating inflammation? Unfortunately, the data says no.
  • 41:20 What is the connection between metabolic disorders, mental disorders, brain disorders (including Alzheimer’s) and inflammation?
  • 44:00 Can the mental-metabolic connection take away the stigma of mental disorders. That obese people are “lazy and they need to get their acts together”?

Chris’s Dad’s Story

  • 44:30 Chris’s keto story started with the Atkins diet 20 years ago.
  • 49:20 Importance of helping medical professionals understand this therapeutic intervention.

“I don’t vilify regular doctors, but I do want to change their minds.” 

– Chris Palmer, MD

  • 53:30 Using keto ten years ago to control his own father’s out-of-control diabetes.  Chris’s father had been written off by the medical profession and then…. His dad’s keto-flu from hell shows why you need a medical professional’s guidance.
  • 59:45 Dramatic results

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my medical career. You really need to go set up a clinic. There are so many more people who need this,“  

– the general practitioner treating Chris’s father

Medical doctors adding ketogenic therapies to their treatment options

  • 1:00:00 Medical doctors incorporating ketogenic therapies into their treatment options
  • 1:02:00 Dr. Eric Westman’s schizophrenic patient in remission with ketogenic therapy
  • 1:04:00 Big changes often need grassroots movements.

Jimmy Moore is an American blogger and author.   He promotes a low carb, moderate protein, high fat  (ketogenic) way of life.

Listennotes uses voice to text technology to create a full transcript. While it is rough, readers may find it useful.

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